What role do scripts play in the shaping of literary cultures? How have script reforms across Asia affected the development of modern literature and national languages? From the creation of Korean Hangul in the fifteenth century to the adoption of a modified Roman alphabet in Vietnam in the nineteenth century to the promulgation of simplified characters in China in the early twentieth century, nearly all Asian countries have undergone significant script reform within the past 500 years. How have nationalism, colonialism (or anti-colonialism), education, democracy, and aesthetics contributed to these transformations? What conservative movements have opposed these reforms, on what grounds, and with what degree of success? What common themes emerge as we consider cases from across Asia, and what phenomena stand out in particular cases? In the hope of sparking a broadly comparative conversation, the panel welcomes papers on script reforms from across Asia.
Please send 250 word abstracts to Rivi Handler-Spitz by March 16, 2018.